After seeing that nightmare-inducing shot of Hank Azaria as Gargamel, I was bracing for the worst when it came to our first official look at the Smurfs from Sony's upcoming adaptation. Well, this morning USA Today provided a first glimpse of Grouchy, Papa and Clumsy, and ... they're not terrible. And at least until Yahoo debuts the initial trailer tomorrow, "not terrible" is the best I'll be able to muster.
As a kid, I was a huge fan of The Smurfs animated series, even if I didn't realize until much later that it was adapted from Peyo's long-running comic series. (Because we had a black-and-white TV set, I thought for the longest time that the Smurfs were green, and didn't know any different until a relative bought me some of the figurines). The medieval European setting, complete with Johan and the annoying Peewit, was always part of The Smurfs' appeal, so I cringe to see that the live-action/CGI-animated film transports most of the action to modern-day New York City -- courtesy of a magical portal in a forbidden grotto.
Despite my reservations, I can't help but appreciate a cast that includes Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Fred Armisen as Brainy Smurf, Anton Yelchin as Clumsy Smurf, John Oliver as Vanity Smurf, Paul Reubens as Jokey Smurf and Wolfgang Puck as Chef Smurf. In addition to the voice actors, the film features Jayma Mays, Neil Patrick Harris, Sofía Vergara and Tim Gunn.
Directed by Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo), The Smurfs opens on Aug. 3, 2011.
Update: The teaser trailer has been released a little early. Watch it below: